'Selling Sunset' star opens up about being victim in growing L.A. 'follow-home' burglaries

The LAPD has established a new taskforce to deal with the rise in burglaries.

In March, Christine Quinn and her family became the latest victims in a growing crime trend that targets celebrities and affluent residents in Los Angeles.

The "Selling Sunset" real estate agent told ABC's "Nightline" that she feared for her family's life when they saw surveillance video of what appeared to be two men with guns trying to break through a window.

"If they enter, they're going to shoot me," she said. "That was the first thing that came to my mind, is they were going to break through that glass and shoot me over bags, diamonds, [and] jewelry."

The suspects fled when they couldn't break through the glass and heard Quinn's dogs bark and the approaching police cars, she said.

'Selling Sunset' star Christine Quinn speaks to ABC News' Nightline about the recent attempted burglary at her home."
ABC News

Quinn's incident is one in a long line of crimes that the LAPD is dubbing "follow home" robberies.

In these cases, suspects target individuals leaving designer stores, fancy restaurants and other high-end businesses and follow them before taking their belongings in the middle of the street or from their homes, according to LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who leads the department's newly formed "follow home" task force.

"In my 34 years in the LAPD, I had never seen this type of criminal behavior in such large groups," Tippet told ABC News.

Robberies are up 18% and armed robberies are up 44% year to date, according to LAPD data.

Tippet said a lot of the follow-home robberies start off violently and without provocation. Many of these crimes are caught on camera, sometimes in broad daylight.

Captain Jonathan L. Tippet.
Los Angeles Police Department

"They're waiting until they get to another location away from that area, usually as a stop off route for gas at a gas station or somewhere else to eat or they get home. That's when they take advantage of them getting out of their vehicles and attempt to rob them of their jewelry," he said.

Quinn told ABC News that she thinks the men who tried to break into her home followed her social media to plan their incident. Quinn said she posted pictures of a ski trip she took with her husband hours before the attempted break-in, and the suspects believed they were out of town.

"What stuck with me was how sophisticated these people are. They knew the layout of our house, they knew the blueprint, they knew exactly where our bedroom was and the closet was," she said. "It just feels just so violating."

People carrying shopping bags wait in line outside the Dolce & Gabbana store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Feb. 4, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Quinn, who owns a gun, said she's taking more precautions such as leaving her expensive jewelry at home when she leaves the house.

The police have also bolstered their presence and resources in response to jump in crimes, including follow home robberies. Last year, the Beverly Hills Police Department told ABC News that it installed more cameras, hired more private security patrols and began using drones.

But while law enforcement races to address the problem, some Los Angeles residents are questioning if resources are being unfairly distributed.

Hamid Khan, a Los Angeles community activist, told "Nightline" that while he feels empathy for the people victimized by follow home robberies, he worries that it is getting outsized attention compared to crimes in other parts of the city. Khan said the money used by the police for more surveillance and patrols could have been spent in other areas such as affordable housing and youth programs.

Los Angeles activist Hamid Khan told ABC News' Nightline he's concerned about the increased police surveillance following a rise in follow home burglaries.
ABC News

"That is a cause for concern," Khan said of the increase in robberies. "But I think what our response is more important than that."

"The resources are being are being invested into policing our way out of these problems, rather than some real investment in the communities," he added.

Quinn told ABC News that she fears for other people in the city who may be the next victim, and hopes by sharing her experience, others can prepare.

"I wanted to tell them, 'Listen, this happens to everyone. And I want you to be prepared so that you know what to do,'" she said.

ABC News' Siobhan O'Driscoll and Meagan Redman contributed to this report.